How digital organizations will impact PLM tools

How digital organizations will impact PLM tools

PLM is usually a journey of an organization transforming itself from one business model into another. While the process can be different, it usually introduces many challenges organization can face alongside the route. Traditional approach is not providing much shortcuts. There is no fast line approach to make PLM happen in your organization. Goals, planning, management commitment, budget, competitive analysis, ROI.. you name it. Also, IT is getting involved which bring another angle of decision making into PLM project. All current PLM projects are business projects, which requires justification and cross-discipline approach. People is one of the main challenges of PLM transformations.

Everything I said above is still true, but here is the thing. In the past, PLM was a major driving force to transform organization and focus on how to improve overall product development processes. Not anymore. So, what happened?

Current organizational design has aged out. Organizations are changing. It is impacting the structure, leadership and governance model. Questions modern organizations are facing are related how to take a full advantage of people and to convert the cost of capital invested into organizations into the business outcome.

In the past organizations were designed on the principles of stability, accountability and control. Such organizations are protecting silos, political organization and not allowing organizations to focus on customers first and market opportunities. Such organizations are very much useless in a modern customer-driven business environment.

The same is for PLM implementations. Most of them are reflecting political siloed structure of organization and processes set up for this organization. Even PLM business transformation after all following another set of organization arrangement, silos and processes.

So, what is changing? New organization and cross silos approaches. We can see many new roles in organizations focusing on cross silo approaches and processes. Here are 3 important characteristics of modern organizations I’m observing and how they impact PLM development:

1- Matrix Foundation Team

Modern organization is created of set of interconnected functions and product development teams. The foundation of this organization is multi-disciplinary team which is capable to provide core functional scope in all aspects of production development.

Such multi-disciplinary team should have a completely different set of tools to manage information and expand processes. Traditional tools might not fit this team. New collaborative data management tools are need to support matrix activity and information flow

2- Fluid, multi-purpose teams

Matrix foundation requires additional teams capable to expand core team with skills and capabilities driven by business. It create dynamic environment with teams working side-by-side and addressing specific organizational initiatives.

Roles, projects, deliveries, information and collaboration – these are attributes of tools for multi-purpose team. No predefined roles. Many things are done at the time it is actually becomes important for organization. Predefined roles and process management systems available in today’s PLM systems is pretty much useless.

3- Expertise as a service.

You thought you can only sell software as a service. Actually not only. In modern organization, an expertise is not less important skills and to have a specific one when you need it can be challenging. Completely “foreign” function for PLM development where roles and processes are defined.

To provide expertise as a service can be challenging without right tools. Social PLM initiatives, collaboration rooms and embedded collaboration tools can really make a difference for future project success.

What is my conclusion? New type of organization requires new skills and tools, It is already not a set of rigid PLM tools attempting to transformation organization and protect it from future challenges. The demand for new data management and collaborative tools capable to support matrix teams, dynamic organization and collaboration – this is how new organization will impact PLM development for the next decade. Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Want to learn more about PLM? Check out my new PLM Book website.

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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